SpartanJogger Training Continues 

SpartanJogger Training Continues 

Well, in a fashion it does. And by fashion I mean this rather swish Spartan Ambassador Tee 😉   As the weeks go by, I’m feeling much more like my old self physically, but I still have a way to go with some numbness in my right thigh, triceps and upper back. My left knee isn’t collapsing nearly as much but I’ve not ventured a run on it yet. 

I had a great night at WAR last Monday working on my core, legs and arms in particular but I didn’t use my weighted gloves- I’m planning to add them back in tomorrow night, if my osteopath appointment goes ok. I was a bit wobbly in the legs last week, too, but much improved from the previous week. 

Yesterday, @TheWelshWookie and I went for a long, hilly walk in the woodlands above Tarbert, getting in six miles which was a real achievement: I felt ok physically, with my left leg struggling a little only in the downhill sections. 

The view was gorgeous:   When we got back, I did some work comparing my current training to the Spartan guide and there are some gaps I need to work on. Granted, I’m very happy that I’m already working hard on squats, lunges, planks, press ups and other key strength exercises, but I do have some gaps to address:

Bear Crawls: I’ll need to work on these to get my butt under the barbed wire. Not sure what to do beyond focussing on dropping my hips when holding a plank.

Pull Ups: Nope. Definitely a gap for me. Not sure I’ll ever manage pull ups so I’m going to rely on The Wookie punting me up ropes and walls 😆. Meanwhile I’ll work on my next gap:

Box Jumps: I’ve asked The Wookie to find a suitable implement we can use for practicing these- my coffee table is too high, higher than a dining chair. Still working on this one for now but I know it will be a critical one.

Sandbag Lifts: we’ve been working on imaginary sandbag lifts at WAR so I’ll have to really focus on this, and see if there’s something I can use in the meantime to build some strength here.

Not too bad, though, four key areas for development in terms of strength.

In the coming week I’m hoping to try a short run/walk/run so wish me luck with that, it’s been five weeks since my last run so I’m missing it terribly! 

All in all, training is slow: my focus has been in recovery and on returning to fitness in a measured way. Long may it continue but with five weeks until the Spartan run I hope that my improvements build momentum as my confidence in what I can do returns. 😀

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Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Hello, there, blog readers. How are you?

This past week has whizzed in, and in a week’s time, the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon will be all over. I feel that I’ve been waiting for this event for so long – and suddenly it’s approaching far too quickly!

Training last week went really well, with Body Conditioning, PiYo and another VeraFlow session. I also did a very comfortable 5k and 10k, so I reckon I’m about ready for race day as I can be.

We’ve also done all of the rest the prep: we’re packed, we have all of the waivers and forms printed and signed, Euros ordered and flights checked in. Roll on Saturday morning!

This week, I’m keeping training very light: I have Body Conditioning tonight and I’ll also do a couple more 5k runs – nothing strenuous, keeping everything gentle at this stage. I’ll be missing PiYo and VeraFlow on Thursday, though, which I’m sad about – I love these classes so much! But it’s only for one week. I’ll be back for some post-race recovery next week.

What do you have planned this week? Any training scheduled? Remember this – it’s how I think I’ll be phrasing Sunday’s run in my head:

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Have a brilliant week!

 

Race Report: The Tarbert TT10K 2015

Race Report: The Tarbert TT10K 2015

Date: 15th August 2015

Profile: Mostly flat, but with three killer hills

Terrain: Mixed: road and trail

Weather: Warm and sunny, but with short rain showers

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Tarbert-10km/570186306335004

Positives: Brilliant course, awesome views and the best support. Beats bigger races for organisation!

Negatives: Those flipping hills!

This was the third year of my local race, the Tarbert 10K. If you read my post on Monday, you’ll know that @TheWelshWookie and I tagged along on the 5k and ran it before the 10K, but this report is focussing on the main event we signed up for – the 10K.

I’ll also begin by noting that I didn’t take anywhere near as many pictures before the race started – I think I was just too busy thinking about enjoying the run! 🙂

As I always do, I had my race gear ready to go the night before. I had two tops sorted, road shoes for the 5K and trail shoes for the 10K at the ready. Note the second ‘elite’ race number in a row – after being Number 1 for the Carradale Canter, I was now Number 2 for the TT10K! 😀  

 This race had an 11 am start, but we were up and breakfasted early, and ready to run the earlier 5K at 10am. @TheWelshWookie drove the car into the village so that we had somewhere to stash our change of t shirts and shoes, and some snacks for in between the runs, and then we had a lovely stroll down to the harbour in the sunshine.  

 We were so busy chatting away to other runners, supporters and marshals that we almost missed the start of the 5K! But, we made it, and thoroughly enjoyed the fast, flat course, and the brilliant support. We were done in 33.15, which was a surprise, as we planned to take it really easy.

We had a quick change, and once again made our way to Garvel Road end for the start of the 10K. We mustered at the back, knowing that we’d be amongst the slower runners. We listened to the race briefing, pointing out the mud we could expect at Maggies Cottage and at the Tarbert Castle loop. There had been a couple of changes to the route this year. Instead of entering the first trail section through the main gates of the Heritage Centre, we entered through the gates to the horse paddock, and ran over the rubber surface. That was different! Our return into the village had changed too, and we had to run past our house, along side the astroturf, along the TAWNI path and out at the school where @TheWelshWookie works before heading back out along the harbour. It was great to mix it up!

Here’s a map of the race:  

 The race was started by a countdown and an air horn, and we were off. We didn’t start too fast, and kept to our planned pace, knowing that the first section involved a climb uphill, with a tight turn. It’s always a hard start to a race, and this year was no different! But the views at the top of Lady Ileene Road are worth it, sweeping over the harbour. We could then recover on the downward run back off Lady Ileene Road and towards the Herifage Centre, through the rubber paddock and onto the first trail section up to Maggie’s Cottage. This is a long, slow incline on a muddy trail up to a turning point that gradually gets steeper and steeper. We were warned by Muriel, one of the marshals, to keep to the middle as it was very slippery on the left. Fortunately, as there were no more runners during our descent, we could actually run on the right, and could avoid the slip hazard altogether.

We headed out of the heritage centre, back onto the road and towards our house. Hazel caught a great photo of us at this point:  

 Thanks Hazel! And @TheWelshWookie half joked about popping home for a cuppa 😉

Next we ran a route we do most days – along past the astroturf, so it was a very comfortable run for us. We then made our way up the TAWNI trail path (TAWNI stands for Tarbert Academy Wildlife & Nature Initiative) towards the school, and then downhill to the harbour. We then ran our usual route along the front, past the 5K mark, all the way to the turning circle at the end, known locally as The Concrete. There, we were met by Jacqui and some others, with water and some much needed jelly babies!

We headed off again, back along the harbour, and up to the killer hill at Big Brae. We did not even attempt to run this – it’s a definite walk, with its steep incline and twists and turns! We also had faster runners hurtling past us heading back downhill, so it was easier for them if we walked, tucking ourselves into the left hand side. Then, we were at the muddy, boggy, Castle Loop, with its hills. But, like other parts of the course, it’s well worth it for the stunning views. I’m pleased to report that we didn’t see any adders this time!

Already we had reached the five mile mark, at the top of the final, big hill. We made our way back around the remainder of the loop, back down big brae, and along the harbour to the finish line.

As every other year, the support was fantastic, with plenty of cheering and support. I haven’t mentioned how well marshalled this event is, with plenty of guidance and help, and cheers along the way. It really does knock the socks off other events.

We gratefully received our hand made, pottery medals which were white this year, and our goody bags – turquoise gym bags with the TT10K logo on them. They were fab! And the neon orange T shirt is great for running on roads, like we do around here.

The Fisherman’s Mission were supporting the event, and there was copious amounts of tea, coffee, home baking and most especially tablet! This was manned by my friend and colleague Sheena, who snuck me a piece of tablet as I waited in the queue. Thanks, Sheena!

There was enough food to feed three villages – we could help ourselves to the home baking, as well as to water, apples, bananas, Tunnock’s caramel wafers, mars bars and a wide selection of pre-packed sandwiches. I grabbed a mars bar, water and a tuna & sweet corn sandwich – a perfect take away lunch!

We waited around, chatting with other runners, comparing times and tales from the run. We then watched the prize giving, with winners receiving bespoke acrylic plaques from Midton Acrylics. They were really unusual and brilliant!

Before we left, I popped over to have a quick chat with Lorraine, one of the organisers, and congratulated her on a job well done – and thanked her for yet another brilliant event. 

Our stats: 1:16:27. 10 minutes slower than the first year; but 2 minutes faster than last year, which is fantastic, given we had just run a 5K and last year was on fresh legs 🙂

The Medal: A locally made pottery medal, with the Tarbert Castle logo embossed on it.  

 Goody Bag: A fab gym bag with the logo on it, T shirt, trolley coin, air freshener, water and mars bar. I didn’t know these were in there before I took another of each, along with my sandwich too!  

 T-shirt: Bright neon orange this year, with silver writing and logo, with the local slogan ‘Run, Jeck, Run’ on the back 😀

 
   
I now feel ready for the Great North Run, and just need to keep on track over the next few weeks. This race is a must in my calendar, it’s been very highly rated in Runner’s World, so please check it out. Even better, come and join us next year!

Race Report: GB Relay 2014

Race Report: GB Relay 2014

Date: 8th June 2014

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: http://gbrelay.com/

Positives: a very different experience, feel-good factor of participating in a world record attempt

Negatives: the time slippage

OK, so the GB Relay 2014 isn’t a race, but I thought I’d report on it using my normal format 😉

The GB Relay is a world record breaking attempt for the longest continual running relay. Each participant signs up for a stage which vary in length, but average out at around 10K. There is a baton containing a GPS unit transferred from runner to runner, and everyone is responsible for their own safety, checking out their route, etc. As it isn’t a race, and each stage has a start and finish time, everyone is encouraged to run 10 minute miles.

The first major difference for @TheWelshWookie and I in participating in this was the time of our stage: we were due to run at 6.19pm, which meant no early rise, and no need to pack the night before. We had super quality relay T shirts, which were personalised:

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So, on Sunday, we headed first to Oban, did some shopping, then onto Strath of Appin, which was our end point. We parked the car, and got ready: I gave myself a thorough coating of both suncream and midge repellent: I needed both! As we had no support available due to a family event, we had to walk to the start point of our stage: the village of Duror, in the Highlands, 8 miles away.

In the week leading up to the event, I’d been in touch with the runners on either side of our stage to agree handover locations and swap contact numbers, to keep everyone updated on progress. As @TheWookie and I were a couple of miles into our walk, we heard that the relay was running about an hour behind schedule 😦

It was too late for us to turn back and wait in the car, so we continued on, enjoying the scenery, and checking out the route itself. Fortunately, most of it could be run along the cycle path, with only the two miles immediately from Duror having to be run on the main road. The route was lovely:

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A team from Dunoon Hill Runners were running the two stages before us, including the hilly section over Glencoe. When they handed over to Ian, who was handing over to us, they got changed and drove to meet us in Duror, to collect Ian when he arrived. It was lovely to meet Kirsty again, and also to meet Jean and Angela. They had managed to pull back some of the time deficit, and so we weren’t delayed for quite an hour!

Before we knew it, Ian was approaching, and it was time for us to run!

Ian passed the GPS tracker to @TheWelshWookie, and we were off!

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The tracker was a small box with a handle, but was quite light. It was a little awkward to carry, but not as bad as I expected. The icky part was the handle and velcro wrist strap that was soaked in a week’s worth of runner’s sweat! Eeew! We were warned not to drop the tracker, or let it touch the ground because that would nullify the record attempt.

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Given that we were trying to run a little fast to make up time, and to get off the road section as soon as possible, the first two miles flew by. When we reached the start of mile 3, I thought we’d only gone one mile! Yay!

I really enjoyed running the middle part of the stage: it was great that we’d just walked it in reverse, as I was able to check of landmarks as we saw them.

At around mile 5, the walk around Oban, the walk to Duror and the slightly faster-than-usual pace took its toll on TheWelshWookie. His recurring knee problem made an unwelcome appearance, and for the next mile our pace slowed. At the six mile marker, we made the decision that I should run on, so that @TheWookie could run at a slower pace and not aggravate his knee further. We also wanted to finish on time, so I ran on ahead.

For the final mile, I struggled a little myself. I was relishing the opportunity to run on tired legs, and I reminded myself that this would stand me in good stead with my marathon training 😉

The final quarter mile is a long, flat stretch, and I could see Fee and the girls from Inveraray Jog Scotland, who I was handing the baton on to. They had their bright yellow t-shirts, which helped motivate me  in the final section. As they saw that I was on my own, they asked where my husband was: my first reaction was who? 😉 Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m married! 🙂 So I said I’d ditched him due to injury 😉

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I passed on the baton, along with the message not to let it touch the ground, and off they ran!

@TheWelshWookie was only a few minutes behind, and ran most of the last mile, which is a good sign for his knee. We rehydrated, then jumped in the car and drove to Oban where we celebrated with fish and chips 😀 Yum! The sunset was spectacular, but I didn’t get a good shot of it. The sky ahead was red, with a neon-looking rainbow, I’ve never seen one like that before. This pic does not do the vibrant colours justice:

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Here’s a map of our route:

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There is no medal, and no goodie bag, but there is a feeling of accomplishment, participation and that you’re part of something, which gives this event a really special feeling.

The relay is still underway, and if all goes well is due to finish on 2nd July. I can’t wait to hear if we are record breakers!

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The GB Relay

The GB Relay

Well, @TheWelshWookie and I were hoping to run in the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool half marathon next weekend. But, plans have changed, so we’ll have to pass on it this year.

So, that means that our next run will be as part of the Great British Relay 2014 on 8th June 🙂

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The aim is to break the world record for the longest continuous relay around the coast of Britain. Did someone say record attempt? We’re in!

The British coast has been split into 594 stages, and the run is done continuously, 24 hours a day, during June and July 2014.

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@TheWelshWookie and I will be running stage 138, from Duror to Strath of Appin Primary School, which is at the very north of Argyll and Bute. Our stage handover is at 18:19, and our stage is 12.5K long.

There are still a few gaps along the way, including immediately before us, so I have no idea how we’re going to get the baton!

We’re going to go for a recce on Saturday, and try to figure out how we’ll get ourselves from the finish to the car; or how we’ll get from the car (if we park it at the finish) to the starting point! I’m sure we’ll figure it out, but with no buses or trains, it’ll be a challenge 😉

We’re really looking forward to being part of such a brilliant event, and if you’re in the UK and haven’t signed up yet, visit the website  GBrelay.com

Any suggestions for how to manage the logistics? Have you signed up?

@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

@TheWelshWookie’s review of his first HM :)

First of all let me introduce myself.

My name is Tony Jones, otherwise known as @thewelshwookie, I am a 42 year old former Rugby Player and former Martial Arts who had let himself go for a good many years. A couple of years ago, my fiancée, now my wife, @tartanjogger was training for the Glasgow Women’s 10k when she injured her ankle and had to pull out, being the supportive individual I am I offered to train with her and run the Great Glasgow Run 10k with her a few months later.
So once the injury had healed training started and this 30lb overweight middle aged man set out for his first kilometre and nearly died!!!!!!!
Fast forward to April 24th 2014 and I finally stepped up to the Half Marathon.
Having studied the Race Route the previous night, I was expecting a steep start to the race and was very pleasantly surprised! Training for the run in and around Tarbert, we have been hitting some serious hills including one that I like to refer to as ‘The B!tch’ so the gradual raise for the first 6k felt almost flat. After around 4k, we ran past the first block of serious support, a group of 20somethings with huge banners and vocals declaring ánimos, which was very uplifting, especially after just passing an empty water station, luckily we carry our own!!
The course continued through the city streets, on terrain that we like to consider flat, although some reports I have read describe as undulating, passing El Corte Ingles, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Peurto De Europa to name but a few!
Passing the 10 mile marker, new territory for me as this was the longest distance run in training, I was feeling great knowing that all that was left was a lap around Parque el Retiro before entering the park and hitting the finish line. I took my final energy gel and kept my head up, then it happened, we turned a corner and saw ‘La Bruja’!! The sight of this kilometre long hill in the very last stages of the run knocked me sideways and it took every ounce of mental strength I have not to start walking and crying, but somehow I managed to keep putting one foot in front of the other, nowhere near the pace I had been going but technically still running, JUST!
Entering the park, the support was amazing and gave me a burst of energy from somewhere ethereal! I now know what happens when Hulk Hogan receives power from all the Hulkamaniacs to beat the bad guy.
So, first half marathon down and looking forward to the next, as the great Mo Farah says, 2014 is the year for turning metres to miles.

tonys watch

 

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Madrid

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Madrid

Date: 25th April 2014

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: http://es.competitor.com /

Positives: good expo, great course, excellent organisation, friendly runners, vocal support

Negatives: the hill at the end, lack of water

As @TheWelshWookie and I were in Madrid for the race and our honeymoon, we headed straight from the airport to our city centre hotel. As soon as we had a bite of lunch, and hopped on the Metro to the expo.

We found the location, and the queue to get into the expo was huge! So, we waited patiently in line, and it was worth the wait. The organisation for bib collection was really good, as was the goodie bag and T shirt points. I was surprised to be given the choice between a T shirt or vest, so I opted for a vest 🙂

We purchased some really cute double layered socks with Spanish flags on them, and @TheWelshWookie treated himself to a spie belt:

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I didn’t hug any expo displays this time 😦

We then headed back to the city centre, had some dinner, and went for a walk to find the start line, which was easy to find and only about one kilometre from  our hotel. Result!

When we returned to the hotel, we laid out our running gear and headed for bed. What do you think of my race vest and shorts? Cute?

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On the morning of the race, we were up early, had our breakfast of greek yoghurt and a Nakd bar, changed and walked to the start line. As the 10K was starting at 8.30am, and the half and full marathon started together at 9am, it was pretty busy. The 10K start line was on a different street, but many of the runners obviously didn’t know that and were at the marathon start area, even as it reached 9am.

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Our corral was at the back, which was great. I could see that the other corrals were busy, and we were running for fun, not time. This was @TheWelshWookie’s first half marathon experience, and the atmosphere was great: music, excited runners and even some sky divers helped us get the party started!

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Here’s the map of the race:

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The race started at 9am, and the final corral (including us) headed off after about 10 minutes. The sun was shining, ans we were good to go! As our corral was quite quiet, it was really good to run on a lovely, wide road and we didn’t have to dodge around many other runners.

The first few kilometres were a steady incline, but I’m very grateful for our hilly training, as it felt flat to both of us. The early support around the course was great: the spectators were supportive and vocal. We ran past lots of Madrid’s sights, including Bernbau stadium, Puerto de Europa and many of the important museums and galleries.

As we reached the first water stop at 5K, we were both feeling great, and were very grateful that we’d brought our own water as they had run out. As it was warm, that will have caused some people difficulty.

The course levelled out, and the support dwindled a little, but that was fine as I was really enjoying looking at the buildings and architecture. It was gorgeous!

We then headed back towards Parque del Retiro, which was mostly downhill, and good fun. The marathoners peeled off along their course at around the 14K mark. Fortunately, there was adequate water and powerade at the rest of the water stations.

At the 15, 16K point, we were at the park, and knew that we had a lap around its perimeter before finishing in the park itself. It was warm, and the support here was good. I noticed that we were heading downhill a little at one point, and then, with about one mile to go, we turned a corner to head into the final straight, and there it was. A hill. A steep, unexpected hill. We dug in, and after haviing a fantastic 11 mile run, @TheWelshWookie began to struggle a little for the first (and only) time. I tried to keep pushing a little, but it was tough! And it lasted for the whole of that final mile!

As we turned into the park, the support was really good, and @TheWookie got a second wind. We picked up our pace, and finished the race strong. 🙂

As we crossed the line, we had our medals placed around our necks, and posed for photos. We collected water, powerade and food bags, then spent a couple of minutes celebrating.

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We then met the lovely Ro, from Run Dabblers, which was great! Ro had spotted us with 5K to go, and kindly said we’d helped pace her to the finish. She too, had found that last hill horrible!

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Our stats: 2:23:59 which is my slowest half to date, but we were not running for time. We were running for fun. Also, given the heat, the final hill and the altitude, I’ll take it! I didn’t know until afterwards that Madrid is the highest Capital city in Europe!

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The Medal: Really good, fab, sparkly and heavy!

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Goody Bag: money off vouchers, leaflets and a good quality gym bag with a mesh back.

T-shirt: It’s a fab, neon green vest!

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After a quick shower and change, @TheWelshWookie and I headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and cocktails. We had a great day!

 

 

Back Indoors

Back Indoors

Well, my outdoor running lasted from Saturday until Monday.

The weather has driven me back inside, and onto the dreadmill!

It’s not the driving rain that’s the problem, really. It’s the really high winds that have cancelled ferry sailings across the West coast. There was a time today when I could barely walk upright!

And so, after the elation of running in the fresh air, and at a decent pace, I was back to grinding out a slow run tonight. But I got it done, and feel smug better for it now.

I’m taking a rest day tomorrow, so hopefully I can get back outside on Thursday 🙂

20140225-195658.jpgHave you managed to get outdoors today? Have you run?

Am I Cold Blooded?

Am I Cold Blooded?

It’s Monday evening here in Tartan Land, and it’s been one of those days today.

So, I was really ready for my three miler tonight!

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@TheWelshWookie and I headed out to the harbour just as dusk settled around us. It was beautiful. Around the end of the first mile, it started to rain, and the rain continued until the end of our run, considerately stopping to allow us to walk home without being miserable. Just at the end of my run, I accidentally soaked myself by running through a big mahoosive puddle! I felt good- the run was just what I needed!

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We pushed a little, and ran our fastest three miler in a while, at around 10.08 per mile. I’m pretty happy with that!

As usual, I came home, showered, and wrapped up in my comfies.

I have a question  I’ve been meaning to ask you all: do you often find yourself really cold after a run? What do you do about it?

I know that at this time of year, the walk home from a run can obviously cause my body temp to drop, but my home is toasty warm, I take a warm shower right away, swap into warm comfy clothes, often wrap up in a fleecy blanket and sometimes even switch on the fire. I rehydrate, and have something to eat, then have a hot drink. But – sometimes – I can be cold for a few hours after an outside run.

Does anyone else find this? What do you do to warm up again? Am I making any mistakes, or do you have any tips?

#ATWRBR2014

I’m thinking about adding a daily distance log to each blog post during March and April, to keep track of my kilometres for the Around the World Running Blog  Relay. What do you think?

Have you signed up yet?

Back Outside!

Back Outside!

Welcome to the weekend! What are your plans?

At the moment, @TheWelshWookie and I are chilling out, watching rugby (OK, I’m watching and blogging- gotta love multi tasking!) and drinking coffee. It’s bliss!

This morning, I ran outside for the first time in a couple of weeks. And it felt G-R-E-A-T! The dreadmill has been hammered lately. Well, I say hammered. I really mean that it has been used for some pretty slow runs while watching Winter Olympic action from Sochi. Having the various sports to watch has made my treadmill running much more tolerable than it would have been otherwise: what am I going to do when the Games finish?  😦

Today’s Hal Higdon training plan called for a 6 mile run. It’s Week 3, Day 6 already. How did that happen?

@TheWookie and I had decided last night that we’d run the Big Glen: a loop that takes us out from the north of the village along the main road for about two miles, and then follows a single track road for a mile before reaching West Loch Tarbert. It then leads back into the south of the village, and is about 5 miles long. To increase the mileage, we decided to run along the Kilberry Road, past the village golf course, before  heading back into the village.

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And it was dry outside: no rain! It’s a miracle! 😉

We decided to stick to a long, slow run pace, and so I used my Audio Fuel track to keep me on target for this. Although I start off really slowly, sometimes I can pick up the pace at around mile 3 or so, and I didn’t want to lose steam at the end! Turns out, this was a great plan. I had a fantastic run, I really enjoyed it! At the end, I could have easily tagged on an extra couple of miles. I didn’t, though: best stick to the training plan 😉

As I ran, I was excited, thinking about the forthcoming Around the World Running Blog Relay: it’s going to be a great couple of months for us runners and bloggers out there! 🙂

We’ve refuelled on some soup and home made bread; and I have the new edition of Women’s Running to enjoy!

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Have a great weekend, all. How long is your long run this weekend? How’s the weather looking?